Kick Starting a New Genre of Activity in the Bedroom…

Silma La Dulce

Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 45
Mercado de Fuencarrel: Calle Fuencarrel, 45
Monday to Saturday; 11am-2pm, 5-9pm

Silma is a name you can easily box with names like Lola, Carmela, Angelina, Linda, Evita…get the drift? Anyway, it’s merely a combination of Silvia and Emma, the owners of ‘Silma La Dulce’ (http://www.emmaysofia.com/), a women’s designer store in Madrid.

It unsurprisingly sells naughty ‘Forbidden Lingerie and Bags’ from Vive Maria (http://www.vivemaria.de/) and Pussy Deluxe (http://www.pussydeluxe.de/). These German brands have interesting items, but are not as outrageous as their names suggest.

Their intimate stock is limited, but what makes this store notable is that it sells fashion designed by local amateur designers.

Clothes from Con 2 Tijeras (http://www.con2tijeras.com/) and Acción Continua (http://www.elmundo.es/metropoli/2006/09/29/compras/1159480881.html), broaches from Cadavericos Perditos, and accessories from Angeles Castro, dominate the collection.

Because of the variety of designers, it’s hard to categorize the items into a particular style. Every piece has individual character.

You will find: dresses, skirts, blouses, t-shirts and tank tops, with striking colors, flowers, sequence, frills and cuts; casual wear with subtle yet obvious details, party wear, funky wear and even I-will-wear-this-just-to-make-a-statement wear.

Its broaches, belts, ties, head bands, necklaces and hats are handmade, and make great add-ons.

The décor is chill out. The multicolored clothes and artisan showpieces stand out distinctly against the store’s red and loungy set-up that includes a white zebra print sofa for customers.

It’s hip, offbeat, fashionable, designer, and — expensive.

An ordinary spaghetti strap top with a broach could cost you around €30, so unless you are desperate for something nobody else has, you might find it pricey.

However, you if you are looking for some funky party gear, or want to kick start a new genre of activity in the bedroom with your partner, this might just do it for you.

Also, every December, the store has a ‘mercadillo’ where it brings out similarly wacky wear, at reduced prices. Now that sounds like something to look out for.

Celebrating a Dictator’s Death in a Ballroom

Tiempo de Transición 1975-1982

Círculo de Bellas Artes
Calle Alcalá 42
Metro Sevilla/Banco de España
Until August 31, 2007
Entrance €1.

The first image of Prime Minister Arías Navarros on TV solemnly announcing: “Españoles, Franco…ha…muerto” is also the calmest one in the collection of photos, posters and artifacts that the Circulo de Bellas Artes has put together to commemorate the 7 years following the dictator’s death. The rest of the collection shows hope, fear confusion, violence and the quest for freedom in a time that is now known as the Transición Española (1975-1982).

Nicely situated in the Círculo’s ballroom, which underlines the hopeful character of the time, the exhibition continues with a chronological account of the months and years that followed. The initial reservations of the Spanish, not knowing what to think of the sudden leadership of relatively unknown King Juan Carlos I, gives way to hope for the future – political prisoners being released, people demonstrating for their rights – and tough clashes with right-wingers not willing to give up that easily. Unions are no longer prohibited and not long after that the socialist party is proclaimed legal as well. Even though the Basques get their own set of rights, ETA sees reason to fire up activities. Spain joins the European nation and people get killed during protest marches from every political side.

Photographs, soundbites, posters, artworks and font pages give you a strong idea of the events in those 7 years, but the part that makes you really shiver are the TV images shown. Looking at the footage in color, you suddenly realize that 32 years ago is actually only a very short time ago. Spain has come a long way.

The collection assumes some knowledge of Spanish history on your part. If, for example, you do not who Franco was, that there was an attempted but failed coup in 1982 or that Picasso’s Guerin spent its first 40 years in exile, perhaps it is better to spend 15 minutes refreshing your knowledge on the internet or bring a Spanish friend for enlightenment.